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Russell Westbrook must be NBA’s MVP

There is a real argument that James Harden should the NBA’s Most Valuable Player. Dismissing that, or trying to discredit all that he’s done is either complete garbage, or a total veil over the facts. Harden was incredible this year for the Houston Rockets, who surprised many on their way to the Western Conference’s third seed in the upcoming postseason.

Yet, Harden’s case is sunk by Russell Westbrook, who has authored one of the greatest seasons the league has ever seen.

On the campaign, Westbrook has amassed a league-record 42 triple-doubles, and has two games remaining. He is the first player to average a triple-double since Oscar Robertson did so back in the 1961-62 season for the Cincinnati Royals. Robertson remains one of the 10 greatest guards of all-time.

On the year, Westbrook is averaging 31.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game. Harden checks in at 29.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 11.2 assists each game. Absolutely MVP-worthy any other year. Going deeper, Harden shoots 44 percent from the floor compared to Westbrook’s 42 percent. Each gets to the line a shade under 11 times per game, while turnovers, steals, three-point shooting, free-throw percentage and minutes are virtually the same.

For all those who claim Westbrook is selfish and shoots too much, I would suggest you look at the team around him. Who else should be shooting the ball? Steven Adams and Enes Kanter are nice players, but nobody rooting for Oklahoma City is pining for either to take 20 shots per game. Victor Oladipo is a nice wing talent, but again, not someone who needs to be a main factor in the offense.

Without Kevin Durant, Westbrook made it his personal mission to get the Thunder back into the postseason. With a 106-105 win over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday afternoon — capped by Westbrook hitting a buzzer-beater from near midcourt — Oklahoma City sits entrenched as the sixth seed in the West with a record of 46-34.

Even after vanquishing the Nuggets, and eliminating them from playoff contention on their home court, he received a standing ovation at the Pepsi Center. With what has been a personal storybook season, Westbrook talked about the love he’s received from fans across the country, understanding the greatness they are witnessing. Per ESPN:

“I’ve been feeling it for a while,” Westbrook said of the appreciation from fans in road arenas. “Everywhere I’ve been, the crowd’s been kind of like that, which is truly amazing, something I could never dream about growing up in inner-city Los Angeles. Now being on the biggest stage possible is something I could never dream about.”

Westbrook took a team completely deflated by its superstar slinking away in the night and turned it into a squad capable of a second-round appearance in the tougher conference. In the end, both he and Harden had great years. One of them was historic.

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